It's not enough to just say "I want to be a life coach". I've compiled this checklist to help you identify the core coaching skills and aptitudes you may already have or need to develop to become a credible and successful life coach.
Whatever life coaching niche you want to fill from personal, to career to relationships and business etc., the basic qualities and skills you need to have are the same.
You may think you already know what coaching is all about and how to do it. You may even already be qualified and practising as a phycologist, counsellor or mentor.
But coaching is a different and specific skill-set and until you have had some specific coach training in a life coaching school with accredited courses you may not have a proper understanding of how coaching compliments yet differs from other disciplines.
Get a handle on the questions you need to ask to make sure you get a credible certification here.
The client must know that the coaching relationship and anything that comes up in the session is totally confidential unless he or she gives you permission to share.
If someone other than the client is paying for the coaching (such as in a corporate situation) you must be very clear and firm in your initial agreement about the boundaries of what you can share with the third party who is paying.
Same goes for coaching anyone where someone else is paying such as in a family situation.
A core coaching skill is to be involved enough to
be empathic and enthusiastic. Yet to be truly objective you must stay emotionally detached from the issue at hand or the outcome..
Of course you are going to have your own opinions and biases, (show me someone who hasn’t). When you become a life coach you will have to learn to keep them out of the coaching picture, or at least own up to it before you share your perspective with your client.
This is especially true if you are coaching clients who may have had a similar experience to yourself. You have to remember your client is not you and their experience and solutions will not be theirs not yours.
You should be able and willing to hold your client accountable for their actions in a way that is supportive to them but doesn't stand for any nonsense?
In the initial session with your client, let them
know they are paying you to discover with them what could be the real issues, even if that truth is confronting for them. As one of my coaches once said to me "Wendy you are paying me to call you on your sh@ so you can move forward". But you don't have to put it as bluntly as that:)!
You're going to get asked that question or "so what is lifecoaching".
If you want to make the right impression you need to be able to answer easily and congruently - and for many new coaches it's not that easy.
So take advantage of the excellent free webinar offered by Cindy Schulson to help you get it right,
Cindy is a marketing expert with huge experience who has made her speciality coaching people to find their special voice and express themselves in a way that is engaging from the heart and inspiring to prospective clients.
At the heart of good life coaching is authenticity and integrity. So you need to become familiar wth and follow the ethical guidelines for life coaching such as those set out here by the
International Coach Federation (ICF). Different independent coaching associations have similar guidelines.
If you aspire to be a life coach you must have a very strong natural
acceptance and respect for other people, warts and all, and do your best
not to let your biases or judgments show.
However you may choose not to work with clients who reveal they have beliefs or behaviours that may be completely unacceptable to you personally or or in conflict with your values or that you do not feel comfortable with.
Relevant to this point on coaching skills is to know your limits as a coach and when you should acknowledge you are not a good match to a prospective client, or may need to refer them on to a therapist or a consultant.
One of the vital personal life coaching skills is to develop great observation and listening techniques? That is to hear or observe what is often NOT being said and hone in on the real issues.
This is one of the core abilities of an empathetic and intuitive coach - it CAN be developed as mine was in a vital and long module in my coach training with CoachU.
Life coaching is essentially client driven – they take the
wheel, you question, encourage guide, stretch and direct but never insist on their
taking a certain path unless they are ready and “get” for themselves
that is the way to go.
As a coaching skill you must be able to hold in check your natural desire to advise,
control, or manipulate your clients even when it is clear to your perspective
what needs to happen.
I believe you may make suggestions sometimes to get the client thinking but it should never be presented as advice.
Are you able to coach without needing acknowledgment. A good coach does not take credit for what their clients achieve - at least not to the client.☺ Rather they praise the client and let them take all the credit for all their successes.
However, another of coaching skills in building your business is to be able to translate the clients delight into a solid endorsement so read Hows to Get Life Coach Client Testimonials easily from a delighted client!
You will need to have or develop the coaching skill of coaching comfortably and effectively by telephone or online comfortably?
This doesn’t come naturally to a lot of people, yet a huge proportion of coaching is now done over the phone or online via Skype, Zoom or similar. At some time you are bound to have a phone or online session or catch up, even if you are a face-to-face coach. Here's a discussion on some of the options for delivering your coaching.
If after reading this checklist of coaching skills, you
think you have or can develop the key coaching skills and are
getting excited about becoming a Life Coach, pause a moment and consider
the following before you jump ship from your current job...
Have you been coached yourself?
If not I would really recommend recommend having a few coaching sessions with a trained coach. Experiencing good coaching from a qualified coach will give you a good taste of what life coaching is really about.